The Body Shop’s reputation as a go-to brand for conscious consumers proceeds it. But cruelty-free and vegan advocates might question if this brand is as squeaky clean as it seems.

The Body Shop is cruelty-free. It doesn't conduct animal testing on its products, nor does it distribute its cosmetics where animal testing is required by law. While The Body Shop does offer a range of vegan cosmetics, it is not considered a vegan brand.

This article helps you understand who you are supporting by looking at The Body Shop’s animal testing policies and its cruelty-free and vegan status.

We share some of the brand's most recommended vegan products or alternatives if it's not easily accessible to you.

We then look at how safe the brand's ingredient choices are, what to avoid, and whether you can confidently spend your money knowing animal welfare and the environment are considered too.

Ultimately, you'll know whether to click "add to cart" for your next The Body Shop buy or if you need to fill out a feedback form with the words, " we think you can do better."

Is The Body Shop Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

The Body Shop Cruelty-Free Product Range

The Body Shop is 100% Cruelty-Free

It does not:

  • Test any of its products or ingredients on animals;
  • Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain; or
  • Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.

The Body Shop has a solid cruelty-free message, and it shows. It has accreditation from Leaping Bunny – the only internationally recognized certification that guarantees a brand is cruelty-free.

The brand is also owned by Natura & Co., a company not known to be associated with animal testing.

This brings us to our next point:

The Body Shop is Not Vegan

Although The Body Shop is not entirely vegan, you will still find many vegan items to fill your bathroom drawers.

If you’re unsure whether something is vegan, just click on its product page and scroll down under its description.

Anything vegan will state that it’s certified by the Vegan Society. Here’s an example:
The Body Shop Vegan Product Finder Online

Some of the most common animal-derived ingredients that The Body Shop uses are:

  • Honey & beeswax – these ingredients pose many health benefits to your skin and wellbeing. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are loaded with essential vitamins.

    Just because beeswax isn't vegan, it doesn't mean it can't be cruelty-free. Find out more here: Can Beeswax Be Cruelty-Free?
  • Lanolin – this ingredient, like honey and beeswax, is used in skincare and cosmetics because it is incredibly hydrating. It is basically the waxy oil that comes from sheep wool. Lanolin can be cruelty-free – follow this link for more details.
  • Shellac – is a secretion from the lac insect, Coccus Lacca, native to Assam and Thailand. Shellac has multiple uses in cosmetics and haircare but is best known for the tough coating and shine it gives lacquers like nail polish.
  • Carmine – this ingredient is the red pigment made from the crushed female cochineal insect. A little gross, no? But it is completely harmless and is used in makeup to get those rouge tones.

    To find out why carmine is so cruel and the shocking amount of products that use it, you need to read this: Is Carmine Cruelty-Free and Vegan?

The Body Shop has not created new formulas with lanolin or shellac in years. In June 2021, The Body Shop committed to becoming fully vegan by 2023.

This means any formulas still in use with these ingredients will be reworked.

One point to vegans everywhere.

If you're interested in which products are vegan or finding vegan brand alternatives – keep reading or click on this link: The Body Shop vegan products.

Animal Testing Policy and History

The Body Shop has been committed to creating earth-friendly, effective and affordable cosmetics that are also cruelty-free. This has been its intention since it was founded.

Cruelty-Free Status in 2022

Here is a screenshot of The Body Shop’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:

The Body Shop Cruelty-free website claim


The Body Shop is Leaping Bunny certified, Cruelty Free International certified, and PETA certified.


Definitely the type of over-achieving we support!

While you might know PETA very well – it surprisingly doesn’t hold the strictest cruelty-free regulations. It only requires a brand’s written consent that abides by the PETA code of conduct.

Certification from Leaping Bunny is ideal because it holds rigorous standards and does regular audits to ensure they are upheld.

Leaping Bunny certification proves that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products they sell.
  • No animal testing is conducted by the brand suppliers or on their ingredients or formulas.
  • No animal testing is done by someone else that the company itself paid for.
  • Any other form of testing (beyond ingredient and consumer safety), such as worker safety and environmental health, is considered and evaluated.

If you see a bunny stamp on the back of your product bottle – that's an excellent sign. But don't let the image itself fool you. A lot of brands are using fake logos to deceive consumers.

Do your homework and see which products are genuinely cruelty-free first. This article will help you: Which Cruelty-Free Logos Can You Trust?

Is The Body Shop Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law? 

The Body Shop does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used per year.

Here is the Body Shop’s statement on why they don’t sell in China.

However, if you live in China or are concerned about its cruel beauty policies, there are a couple of loopholes.

Here's how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

What The Body Shop Products Are Vegan?

The Body Shop has an extensive range of vegan products that continues to grow.

Soon its whole range will be vegan!

To save you some time, here are some of The Body Shop’s most popular and award-winning vegan products to choose from:

  • Shea Body Butter (followed by just about every Body Butter variant!)
  • Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo
  • Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash
  • Chamomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
  • Lemon Purifying Hand Wash

You can find a complete list of The Body Shop’s vegan products on its website. Each range type (face, body, hair makeup, etc.) gives you a specific ‘vegan’ list to check out.

Vegan Alternatives to The Body Shop

We love what The Body Shop represents.

It's 100% cruelty-free, (almost) vegan, and affordable. Plus, users claim that it’s effective too.

But if the brand is not easily accessible to you, here are some other options to choose from:

Is The Body Shop Natural and Organic? 

The Body Shop did start out as a natural brand. As it expanded, certain synthetic elements have been added for safety and longer shelf life meaning the brand is no longer considered natural or organic.

It does claim to use safe ingredients, which are often of natural origin, organic or regenerative. Especially when this is best for the formula and you, the consumer.

You can read more here if you’d like to see an in-depth ingredient policy from The Body Shop.

Clean vs. Natural Ingredients

The term "natural" is not regulated for cosmetics and skincare. In other words, it doesn't hold one specific meaning.

Usually, it means a product is free of certain more toxic synthetic ingredients, including parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. But people also interpret "natural" to mean ingredients of immediate plant origin.

Here's the thing: "natural" is not necessarily good. Just because an ingredient is natural (take egg whites, for example) doesn't mean you should rub it on your skin and risk a salmonella infection!

All products use a certain amount of synthetic ingredients in their formulas. The Body Shop is no exception – but it does choose to use better or clean synthetics.

If a synthetic ingredient is "clean," it means it is safe and non-toxic for us. Its purpose is to preserve the stability of a beauty formulation.

A few naturally-derived ingredients The Body Shop uses to enhance its cosmetics include:
  • Argan Oil has high amounts of fatty acids with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and protective properties. In short, this ingredient can soothe irritants, boost moisture, restore hydration and fight against environmental damage.
  • Shea Butter this vegan butter has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties that soothe scalp and dryness.

    For hair, shea butter can add moisture and shine, especially to dry, coarse, and frizzy hair textures.
  • Vitamin E helps your skin retain moisture while also protecting and repairing it. Those with dry skin significantly benefit from using it.

Does The Body Shop Use Safe Ingredients?

According to Skin Safe, The Body Shop has an 82- 100% allergen-free ranking across 269 products.

Many of The Body Shop’s products are free of allergens such as top common preservatives, parabens, lanolin, MCI/MI, nickel, gluten, soy, propylene glycol, and dye free.

Reading the ingredient list is crucial because The Body Shop is not 100% hypoallergenic or non-comedogenic, and they do not claim to be.

However, certain products are specifically for these concerns, so make sure you buy what your skin needs.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

We don’t want to scare you, but you HAVE to read up on any product’s ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live within the United States. The reason why will shock you.

The FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe and the UK, on the other hand, have banned 1,328!

Given The Body Shop is a UK-based brand with strict ingredient policies, you don't need to worry too much, even if it does not claim to be a ‘clean beauty’ brand.

But generally speaking, you want to avoid the following skincare ingredients:

  • Ethoxylated ingredients (PPG, PEG, and polysorbate)
  • Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, and TEA)
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, aka teflon®)
  • Propylene glycol (pg) & butylene glycol
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nitrosamines
  • Polyacrylamide
  • P-phenylenediamine
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Homosalate
  • Phthalates
  • Triclosan
  • Butylated compounds
  • Formaldehyde

Are Cruelty-Free Ingredients Safe?

If you’re worried about how safe it is to use cosmetics not tested on animals – please relax and take a sigh of relief.

There is no reason why cruelty-free products shouldn’t be as safe as anything tested on animals.

Not only is it easy to test ingredients without using animals altogether, but there are so many pre-approved ingredients you can use to make cosmetics that there is no need.

If you’re interested, here’s more on the subject: Are Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Safe?

Is The Body Shop Sustainable and Ethical? 

Something commendable about The Body Shop is that it wants to be transparent with its customers. Its mission is to be the most sustainable, ethical, and inclusive company possible.

It spends a lot of time improving its responsible sourcing and wants consumers to know that.

As it stands, the brand:

  • Helps create sustainable, ethically developed products.
  • Focuses on lessening the impact it has on the planet.
  • Strives to do more to help people.

Some of the ethical causes The Body Shop supports include:

  • Women and girl empowerment campaigns.
  • The COVID 19 pandemic – by supplying product donations to front-line medical workers, other government support workers, and to shelters.
  • Black Lives Matter – The Body Shop shifted how it does business as it now has a Global Inclusion and Diversity manager and donated $250 000 to the movement.

It's no secret that the world has a huge waste problem, and cosmetic brands only make it worse by using unsustainable packaging and harmful ingredients.

Some of the ways The Body Shop is taking strong environmental accountability is by:

  • Having B-Corp Certification to show its environmental and social commitments.
  • Attaining Fairtrade certification to help protect the people who farm and produce its ingredients.
  • Harvesting naturally regenerative ingredients.
  • Working on sustainable packaging developments.
  • Ensuring that the plastic containers they use are recyclable and, very often, recycled.
  • Encouraging consumers to recycle their products with discount incentives.
  • Reducing their use of virgin plastic in their product and shipping packaging.
  • Prohibiting synthetic microbeads that pollute our waters and harm marine life.
  • Using ethically mined MICA sourced without the use of child labor.
  • Using Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil (RSPO certified).
  • Being Forest Steward Council (FSC) Certified and using recycled wood used in stores.
  • Having refillable stations for some products in selected regions.
  • Having a Community Fair Trade recycled plastic program works with waste pickers in India to give fair price. By 2021, TBS had purchased 900 tonnes of PRC.
  • Aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

Final Thoughts

With 40 years of experience, The Body Shop is a well-developed personal care and cosmetics brand that leads the way on various ethical considerations. The fact that they are cruelty-free is a step towards a more sustainable future in cosmetics.

We appreciate it has a transparent supply chain and is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies.

Of course, since The Body Shop is not 100% vegan (yet), it might not be the best choice for activists who go the extra mile. Especially since the brand also uses palm oil as an ingredient. (Even if it's sustainably sourced.

But we wouldn't shut it down so quickly if we were you. This brand listens to and acts on your needs, so keep following its movements.

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